BREAKING UP BERTHA: What’s been happening since the digging was done


(WSDOT photo)

It’s been a month and a half since the Highway 99 tunneling machine finished digging. Besides roadbuilding and other work underground, the task of breaking the machine into pieces continues. Here’s the latest from WSDOT.

In the disassembly pit near Seattle Center, work is continuing around the clock – cutting, lifting and removing heavy pieces of the SR 99 tunneling machine. As of yesterday, eight small spokes and the bulk of five larger spokes have been taken out of the disassembly pit. More than 50 percent of the iconic cutterhead has now been removed.

Crews are also working inside the tunnel to remove the tunneling machine and other pieces of the tunneling operation no longer needed now that the tunneling portion is complete. Seattle Tunnel Partners is removing conveyor system components which had been used to carry the dirt underneath Seattle out to waiting barges. Temporary utilities, hydraulic lines and hoses are also coming out. And STP has started disassembling the back end of the trailing cars that carried all the equipment for tunnel-building. In all, eight thousand tons of equipment will eventually be removed from Seattle’s new tunnel to clear the path for building the rest of the double-deck road inside.

See five more photos accompanying this update on the WSDOT website. The most-recent schedule projects that the tunnel should open to traffic in early 2019, with demolition of what remains of the Alaskan Way Viaduct to follow.

3 Replies to "BREAKING UP BERTHA: What's been happening since the digging was done"

  • Archie May 19, 2017 (2:54 pm)

    Thanks for the ongoing Bertha coverage, WSB.  

    The Seattle waterfront is going to be an absolute jewel when this project completes.

    Marred only by the ragged crowd of naysayers along the verges who will of course refuse to enjoy it on principle :)

    • JeffK May 20, 2017 (7:23 am)

      The reduced noise level in the city and waterfront will be a great improvement.

  • mr.T May 19, 2017 (6:01 pm)

    are they still planning the 8 lane “highway” along the waterfront, or is that going to be put on a road diet?

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